Could saying “I can’t do this” be the worst thing for us?

November 19, 2013


Dear Max

Last week I took part in a brilliant event in Durban, hosted by Mr Price Sport, called the BlogOlympics. It involved three teams from Jhb, CT and Durban, each with eight in a team.

I knew from the brief description that I would be doing things I wasn’t really good at, and which dredged up memories of school sport, or that frustration of not being “good” at technical stuff or throwing or catching or kicking.

 I half joked that they should have made me run to Inchanga – one foot in front of another, because that’s what I do. Or can do (when I’m fitter though). Or have learnt to do.

And the day was amazing and among the most fun I’ve had at an event. There was camaraderie, relaxation and just good ‘ol wholesome fun. In the outdoors, with balls, targets, nets and rings. I didn’t excel at all, but it wasn’t even about that, and my team members still graciously high fived me even when I wasn’t exactly the strongest link.



The event got me thinking a lot about personal capabilities and the importance and payoffs of exercise and movement, and here’s what’s on my mind:

– What comes first – the inability to do certain sports, or thinking that you are unable? For example, I never thought of myself as a runner, nor did I run as a child or teen, yet wanted to do, and trained to be a runner.

I was never encouraged, motivated or inspired to do sports at school. Was this because I was “bad” at them, or did I become “bad’ at them because I had no confidence or guidance? I don’t think we can become Olympians without a certain genetic makeup, but surely the basics are doable?

I also always tell people I have no coord nor technical abilities. But is this self defeating? If I believed I was better, and cultivated or worked on my “skills”, would this improve them?

– There is no high quite like exercise. None. I used to think it was about running only, but jumping around and high-fiving team members in the sun was a high.

– As a result of the above point, I will not sit back and let you think you’re incapable of swimming, or kicking a ball. Nor will I sit back and let you bunk PT like I used to do, nor write sick letters for you to get out of sport (like my mom did for me).

I won’t force you to make the A team, or put you through any activity you don’t want to do, but there’s so much to be gained from being active, and participating in a team, or even pushing for oneself.

And if you’re battling to throw or kick, I won’t sit back and let that be okay. Because I believe it can be taught. And I’m not sure there’s such a thing as “can’t” when it comes to these “basic” things. Only “won’t.

Let’s give it a shot and we’ll see…



1383438_578621945536319_1238775247_nPictures via Barry Tuck and Moses Mabhida Stadium

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1 Comment

  • shane

    I think Max has to work at his own speed and has things in his mind that he has to do or get around first and then start exercising. I think Max hates running but is keen to get back on the bike and gym soon.

    November 19, 2013 at 11:30 am Reply
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